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Thread: Chan and La Boheme = Kwan and Taj Mahal?

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    Question Chan and La Boheme = Kwan and Taj Mahal?

    So I have a thought about Chan's fs this year after seeing his performance at Nationals. The way I feel about this program is the same as how I felt about it at the Japan Open. It's a masterpiece as far as choreography and composition goes. For my money it's one of the best crafted skates I've ever seen. But I wonder if it will be like Michelle's Taj Mahal.

    Taj Mahal is arguably one of Michelle's most intricate and stunning programs. For a lot of Michelle's fans it may even be a dark horse favorite. It was so intricate and specific and VERY special. The thing is we never really got to see it at it's full potential until arguably at worlds. But even then it wasn't perfect, but there was something about the air of redemption and desperation she brought to it that was just stunning. What she was skating about was so real... suddenly it was transcending the movement and literally become about that moment in that arena. But I digress...

    Anyway the point I'm trying to make, is we still have at least one more chance to see Patrick skate La Boheme, but I wonder if this routine might be destined to see the same fate as Taj Mahal. Respected but not iconic because it simply wasn't that skaters year. I think La Boheme is my favorite Patrick freeskate but I feel like we haven't been able to see him really skate it the way he's capable.

    I wonder how other people feel about this assessment. For comparison here is Michelle at '97 worlds
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE0Blj2A0x4

    And Chan at '12 Rostelecom Cup, his strongest international performance so far:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFon3qNt3Fs

    And who knows. He could come out at worlds with it all figured out and just blow us away. But does anyone else see what I'm saying? Am I crazy? What are some other routines done by skaters that you feel might have been masterpieces but we never got to see at the skater's fullest potential.

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    Thanks for the chance to think about Taj Mahal again. Like many fans, I had let it drop from my consciousness. I see what you mean that people might pass over La Boheme because Patrick might not be having the best year. It is indeed a lovely skate, with a lot of flow and emotional connection. I also like his costume--unpretentious, not flashy, but evocative of a young urban artist of the nineteenth century.

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    Great thread! I think what marks these two programs is that the choreographers (Lori Nichol and David Wilson) really pushed the boat out.

    One interesting thing about Michelle's performance is that under 6.0 judging, doubling an intended triple was not a deal-breaker -- certainly not to be compared with a fall. Michelle got almost all 5.8s in tech despite the doubled Lutz. As for the audience, they probably didn't even notice it.

    Another Lori Nichol program that was never skated to its potential was Orchid for Sale and Pelletier. The concept was wonderful, but the skaters never really mastered the details and went back to Love Story for the Olympics.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2LZAXxRzeg

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    I had always thought the explanation (at least offered by some commentators) for those Tajs which were not skated well was that she had changed boot manufacturer and the boots caused her problems, not the complex psychological explanation she gave.
    Michelle's Miraculous Mandarin could have been a masterpiece, but she performed it only once and not up to her usual standards.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKvcx7w8lEI

    For both the programs you are talking about, there seems to be a bland emotional connection with both skaters, something I rarely observe with Kwan.
    But both programs are wonderfully choreographed.
    Last edited by Icey; 01-22-2013 at 09:00 AM.

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    Interesting thread and comparison - I loved Taj when I saw it, but did always want more from it - that amazing perfect skate, and yes, thus far I'm feeling that with Chan this season too. But I really respect the concept and choreo and the amazing quality of skating to it. I admit that I have forgotten about Orchid or haven't thought about it in a while, but I really agree with MM - that was an amazing program and it was very unfortunate - at least from this fan's point of view - that S/P couldn't get "there" with it.

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    I do remember Orchid and I remember being sorry it was ditched, but I can see why. The stakes were so high in an Olympic year, with Canada having a chance at gold. Emotionally, Love Story was a much better fit with S/P, and the pull of the music made it easier to draw the audience in. I do have to smile at the memory of someone interviewing Jamie and David about Orchid and David saying something like "Hey, for Lori I can be a flower."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icey View Post
    I had always thought the explanation (at least offered by some commentators) for those Tajs which were not skated well was that she had changed boot manufacturer and the boots caused her problems, not the complex psychological explanation she gave.
    In The Edge of Glory Christine Brennen put it like this. Michelle had three problems that year, "boots, body, and brain."

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    I loved Michelle's program-Michell was one of my favorite female skaters in 90's years- and I like Patrick's program in this season. But I can say many other programs which are wonderfully choreographed like these, for example Lu Chen's Rachmaninov program from 1996 or Dai's blues from last season. So this is very subjective, but don't get me wrong I understand why you are enchanted.

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    Oh, what an interesting idea.

    Firstly, and to answer the initial comparison, I think "La Boheme" and "Taj Mahal" stand differently in the careers of Chan and Kwan. Michelle Kwan has no dearth of great programs to call your favourite. East of Eden (1, 2, 3), Salome, Song of the Black Swan, The Red Violin, Tosca, Lyra Angelique, Aranjuez.... etc. I've seen each of these programs referred to as a favourite by one Kwan-fan or another. Patrick Chan doesn't have that body of work. Consequently, I think a lot of people actually like it more - relative to Rachmaninoff, Vivaldi, POTO or Aranjuez.

    That stated, I think we also have to entertain the possibility that Chan will likely keep it for the Olympic season.

    Programs that weren't skated to their full potential? Lambiel's "Poeta" comes to mind first. Then V/M's Pink Floyd and Latin Trio free dances. If they had been, they'd be the apex of the sport imo.

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    I totally agree with IP about programs not skated to their full potential - Poeta was truly an amazing program even not skated perfectly, imagine if it had been!!! And I agree too about V/M. Another that comes to my mind is a program that came very, very close but...and that is Shen/Zhao's Meditation. Although their 2003 world's program/performance is one for the ages and I can still watch it and get goose bumps, I felt their Meditation was truly amazing choreographically and thought their CoC performance of it - while not perfect and ultimately behind the music at the end, showcased its full complexity; unfortunately, I don't think they ever nailed nailed it in competition, although it certainly was, IMO, beautiful to watch and served them well in terms of placements.

    I think Abbot has had a number of gems, some of which he has nailed at least at one competition; but his Muse program was one that I also loved choreographically and wished he had had one of those 'performances of a lifetime' with. I still kind of wish he had kept it again....

    I agree with plushfan about the quality of Chen's Rach or Dai's blues....but i also feel we got some pretty spectacular performances of them (although I for one wouldn't mind seeing blues again and again....)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    East of Eden (1, 2, 3), Salome, Song of the Black Swan, The Red Violin, Tosca, Lyra Angelique, Aranjuez].... etc. I've seen each of these programs referred to as a favourite by one Kwan-fan or another. Patrick Chan doesn't have that body of work. Consequently, I think a lot of people actually like it more - relative to Rachmaninoff, Vivaldi, POTO or Aranjuez.
    To me, Michelle's Tosca and Aranjuez are kind of the opposite if the idea of this thread. That is, the programs themselves were fairly generic, but Michelle performed the heck out of them (Tosca at 2004 U.S. Nationals and Aranjuez at 2003 Worlds).

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    WOW. What great responses to my question! I had never seen The Orchid piece before. Not sure how I missed it! But I think it totally fits this. I kind of think all the routines that are getting noted fit well.

    Another one that has come to me is Lu Chen's 97 worlds sp to Take Five. (I seem to be on a ladies 97 worlds kick) So sexy and fit her so well but she just wasn't prepared training wise to really make it a memorable piece.

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